Dan English's BI Blog

Welcome to my random thoughts in regards to Business Intelligence, databases, and other technologies

Archive for February, 2014

Book Review: Microsoft Tabular Modeling Cookbook

Posted by denglishbi on February 21, 2014

There is a new Analysis Services (SSAS) Tabular book that is available to own and add to your library.  The book is written by Paul te Braak, who is a lead business intelligence consultant in Australia and is one of the developers on the DAX Studio project, and he has put together an outstanding cookbook.  When the book was released I was surprised and excited.  I was surprised because I did not know that Paul was working on this (he is the sole author, big kudos to Paul), and excited because I knew it was going to be a good one.  I had this one on my radar list of books to add to my collection; I am definitely a big fan of the Packt Publishing Cookbook series style of books. Microsoft Tabular Modeling CookbookWhat I like about the books is that they introduce a topic or situation and then go over the solution in a very simple and easy to understand format – Getting Ready, How to do it, How it Works, There’s more.  Paul adds a lot of great insights in this book in explaining how the solutions work as well as including a bunch of ‘Tips’ along the way as well.

Here is when I first became aware that the book was released last month and posted the O’Reilly media deal:

image

So when I was asked by the publisher this past month to provide a review of the book I was more than happy to say ‘yes’.

Paul does a great job on slowly working you into the Tabular modeling concepts and the only tool you need to get going is Excel and the Power Pivot add-in.  Paul’s examples use Excel workbooks and flat files for the most part, so that makes it really easy to get started and get your learn on.

What is amazing is that this book is just over 300 pages and it is loaded with great content that covers items such as how to use Power Pivot, hierarchies, drilldown, parent-child hierarchies (including how to hidememberif in DAX), smart measures, smart keys, programmatic access in Excel – cube functions and VBA, querying with DAX, Power View, and more!  Simply amazing, Paul does a fabulous job and this is a great intro book that progresses into advanced topics and has great examples, tips, and insights that are a big time value add.

Here is a outline of the chapters:

Chapter 1: Getting Started with Excel
Chapter 2: Importing Data
Chapter 3: Advanced Browsing Features
Chapter 4: Time Calculations and Date Functions
Chapter 5: Applied Modeling
Chapter 6: Programmatic Access via Excel
Chapter 7: Enterprise Design and Features
Chapter 8: Enterprise Management
Chapter 9: Querying the Tabular Model with DAX
Chapter 10: Visualizing Data with Power View

Book link – Microsoft Tabular Modeling Cookbook.

I would definitely rate this as a must have for anyone doing tabular SSAS development and give it 5 out of 5 stars – image

Awesome job Paul and thanks for writing the book and sharing!

Advertisements

Posted in Analysis Services | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

SQLSaturday Madison #287 Pre-Cons Registration Now Open

Posted by denglishbi on February 13, 2014

Just announced this week, there will be three amazing pre-con events on Friday, March 28 at the SQLSaturday event in Madison.  Registration is now open and seating is limited, so sign up while you still have the opportunity.

The pre-con events are an all-day event with a small group, lunch is provided, and there is a nominal fee of $100.  These pre-con events are a great way to really dive into a particular area and have a really up-and-close interactive experience with the instructors and fellow classmates.  I will be doing a self-service Power BI course that will cover Power Pivot, Power Query, Power View, and Power Maps all using Excel, very powerful and cool:)

Here is the list of three pre-cons:sqlsat madison

Virtualization for SQL Server DBA’s with David Klee

VMware vExpert and SQL Server performance expert David Klee leads this full-day, hands-on introduction to enabling and managing a virtualized SQL Server environment. The focus of the course is to help those new to virtualization and/or infrastructure concepts to become familiar with the concept and purposes of virtualization and how it can benefit them as data professionals. Participants will gain exposure to all layers of virtualization underneath SQL Server, from storage to hypervisor to the SQL Server instance, and will learn how to construct the entire stack with the focus on SQL Server performance.

Upon completion of this course, attendees will be able to:

  • Understand key virtualization and cloud concepts
  • Determine the optimal infrastructure configuration for best performance
  • Construct a SQL Server virtual machine template with best practices for agility and performance
  • Understand how and what stack metrics to benchmark and baseline to ensure proper objective performance measurement
  • Identify and remediate common virtualized SQL Server performance killers
  • Understand proper virtualized capacity management techniques for long term management

Attendees with the following experiences will benefit the most from this course:

  • Basic familiarity with the core components of a server
  • SQL Server installation and configuration
  • Exposure to SQL Server performance metric measurement and identification

A working set of the screens and configuration settings referenced in the session, together with the reference slides and documentation, will be provided to attendees, for prospective reference in working with virtualized SQL Server in their own environments.

Make Me a Tuning Believer w/Jes Borland & Ted Krueger

Are you an accidental DBA or developer that has been told to make a T-SQL query run faster? How many times have you heard complaints from the business about a report taking 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or longer to run? Have you found yourself lost in the mix of execution plan operations and indexing and scans?

Come to this class to build your query and execution plan tuning skills from beginning to end. We’ll focus on the everyday DBA’s and developer’s needs for tuning, and build up to more advanced methods which can be taken directly to work and bring immediate improvements in performance.

The workshop will show you skills and tools that revolve around what you will see most commonly in any business, such as:

  • The life cycle of a transaction
  • Preventing bad T-SQL coding practices
  • Reading an Execution Plan
  • Plan Cache and Monitoring
  • Execution Plan Tuning
  • Capturing bad execution plans that need to be tuned

You’ll also have plenty of time to ask your questions and get answers!

Self-Service BI to the Max with Dan English

Having the freedom and ability to easily explore and provide reporting and valuable insights within an organization has been a challenge for years. Well no more! The time to unlock and open up the doors to information is now. In this all-day pre-conference you will see that with the use of Excel you can be empowered to easily load and relate data, build business logic and calculations, enrich data with additional sources, and build highly visual and compelling reports.

We will explore Excel, Power Query, Power Pivot, Power View, and Power Maps and show you how you can maximize the investment in the tools that Microsoft has provided. By the end of the day you will see how you will no longer be held back to waiting for a report request or being able to not ask the questions you have wanted to, take the next step and see what powers await you with Excel and unleash your data!

Don’t delay, to secure your spot register now!

Posted in Training | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Minnesota Microsoft BI User Group 2014 Q1 Meeting–Feb 25

Posted by denglishbi on February 6, 2014

The next MN Microsoft Business Intelligence User Group is coming up on Tuesday, February 25. This meeting we will have two presentations starting out with a presentation on what the Data Scientist role is all about and then Mr. PowerPivotPro (b|t) will be in town to talk about…Power Pivot. Please register so that we can have your name badge pre-printed.image

MN Microsoft BI User Group 2014 Q1 Meeting

Sponsored by:

MSFT_logo_Page

Date: Tuesday, February 25, 2014image

Check In: 2:30 PM Event Time: 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Location: Microsoft Technology Center – 3601 76th St W, Suite 600 Edina MN 55435 (in LOW 1, 2, and 3)

Please Register Now (Please register so that we can have your name badge pre-printed)

Agenda:

  • 2:30-3:00 : Registration
  • 3:00-3:15 : Microsoft BI User Group Updates & Announcements
  • 3:15-4:15 : You are a Data Scientist when…
  • 4:15-4:30 : Break
  • 4:30-5:30 : Visualizing Your Data with Microsoft Power View
  • 5:30-6:00 : Social and Networking

Presentations:

Session 1: You are a Data Scientist when…

New job title dubbed the most interesting job of the century, is causing many of us to rewrite our resumes and reassess our skills.  What is a Data Scientist?  How have our roles changed? How will our roles change in the future?  This talk will examine the abilities, tools, and business acumen to be considered this emerging title.  Ideas will be shared on how to work with management to obtain this recognition and mentor a group of peers to share knowledge.

Speaker:

Cheryl Stepney has over 40 years of experience with working with data to form insights that have affected the IT industry.  Having worked for Oracle Corporation and Macromedia as start-up organizations, she has a unique perspective on using and visualizing data.  She also worked for Microsoft to evangelize SQL Server for a five state district and continues to consult in all aspects of the data lifecycle.

Session 2: Fact or Fiction:  The “Free Lunch” Promise of Power Pivot

Dramatically shortened lead times, drastically reduced costs, AND “same day” agility:  these are the promises of the “Self-Service BI” generation.  These sorts of claims naturally elicit a healthy amount of skepticism.  We are, after all, analytical people, and we’ve learned that there are no “free lunches.”

So – do tools like Power Pivot deliver what they promise, and if so, our natural next question is “ok, what’s the catch?”

You are right – there IS a secret missing from the marketing and hype.  But it probably is not what you are expecting, and it is simpler than you would ever guess.

Come see “Skeptic turned High Priest” and former Microsoft engineer Rob Collie “de-cloak” these mysteries with firsthand experiences and hands-on demos.  Regardless of your background, you will never view data the same way. 

Warning:  learning these secrets has been known to re-vitalize your career.

Speaker: Rob Collie, @PowerPivotPro, Author of DAX formulas for PowerPivot

One of the founding engineers behind PowerPivot at Microsoft during his 14-year career in Redmond and former CTO at Pivotstream, Rob Collie is one of the world’s foremost authorities on self-service business intelligence and the revolutionary power of next-generation spreadsheet technology. His experience extends from software design and engineering through market strategy, and he is the author of the world’s #1-selling PowerPivot book.

Rob is currently in the process of launching a new software company in his areas of expertise, specifics to be announced later this spring. In the interim, he is advising and training organizations in their adoption of PowerPivot, using a complete-system approach that encompasses model and report design, collaboration with IT/DBA, server-based distribution, and cultural best practices.

BONUS: Get 5% on Rob Collie’s Online PowerPivot Training. At checkout use code MNBIUSR.

Link to purchase:  https://powerpivotpro.digitalchalk.com
20+ hours video on comprehensive Power Pivot 
Entertaining, easy-to-understand style 
Bonus e-book and guides
Concepts demystified via clear animations & examples
Designed for Excel people
Bulk discounts available for multiple attendees

Posted in Training | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »